4, rue Beethoven (16)
If it is true that some Michelin 3-stars are running on fumes, it surely isn’t true of Astrance. Dinner can be up to 350€ fixed price, plus wine. Lunch: 70€. Wines selected for each course – and refilled – 50€/p. Every dish unusual, beautiful, perfectly executed. A reminder that Michelin stars do carry meaning. This is as good as restaurants get. The Gold Standard.
An update. Could it be even better? Possibly.
It is not the grand 3-star experience (see Pre Catalan, also 16th Arr.) Instead, it is a superior restaurant which achieves a perfect balance of food, price, service and ambiance, with an emphasis on exquisite, boutique food. 24 seats, lunch and dinner. That’s it. Every seat taken at every service.
Less theater, more subtlety of flavor, more measured. This is as perfect a restaurant as a restaurant can be.
In its own way, lunch no less a bargain than the tasting menu at Temps au Temps or L’Agrume. Very hard to book. Few seats, and fewer than other 3- stars. For us, Astrance is the best food in Paris.
Highly professional. Polished without ballet. Cool, but friendly. Waiters test you: “Taste, tell us what you think it is.” Five intelligent waiters/dining room managers. They achieve the precisely proper balance between servers and advisors. Utterly without intimidation. One owner/partner in the kitchen, one in front. Very hands on.
No surprises. 70€. With wonderful wines, generously refilled, 120€…
Normally, I would leave what I have written in the past about Astrance. After all, nine meals is normally enough to form a balanced opinion. But there has been a change: For reasons they would never disclose, Michelin dropped Astrance’s rare third star in its 2019 listings. There must have been reasons. But assuming there were, it wasn’t evident to us in yet another flawless, spectacular late November lunch.
The space is unchanged, perhaps except for more Asian clients and fewer American, but with 24 seats, one meal isn’t much of a data point.
The service remains perfect; kind, formal, helpful, bi-lingual. The price of the 70€ lunch is higher, but with the wines rolled into the check total, it isn’t readily clear how much higher. The 2019 Michelin Guide says 95€. Believe me, it is a bargain still.
The dishes are each superb, complex, but never weird or fussy. Three star or two, this is Paris’ best and most special restaurant and, naturally every seat taken.
(Subsequent to this meal it was announced that Astrance will move to another address in the 11th. No other details disclosed.)